Experts warn of health risks from eating 'frozen eggs'

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2023 04:32 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2023 04:58 PM

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MANILA – Experts on Wednesday urged the public to refrain from buying and consuming "frozen eggs" as the prices of the commodity spiked. 

Frozen eggs are sold at around P55 a kilo in some markets. Some Filipinos buy them as a cheaper alternative to eggs that cost up to P10 per piece.

Frozen eggs may pose a threat to the health of Filipinos, infectious diseases expert Dr. Rontgene Solante said. 
“Alam mo naman, na yung itlog, it should have a shell. Pag tinatanggal mo nayan sa shell, there’s a possibility na yung humahawak noon, magiging contaminated. So yung mikrobyo nanggaling sa kamay niya, pwedeng pupunta doon sa itlog na ‘yan,” he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

“And then yung handling pa niyan, pag halimbawa, lalagay sa supot, tapos ilalagay kung saan-saan bago doon ilalagay sa refrigerator, mataas talaga ang risk ng contamination dyan,” he explained.

(As you all know, eggs should have shells. If the shell is removed and handled by someone with dirty hands, the egg could get contaminated. Microbes could be transderred to the egg. And when it comes to handling, for example, you place the egg in a plastic bag, then you transfer it many times before it reaches the refrigerator, the risk of contamination there is very high.)

Nutritionist John Paul Buhain, meanwhile, noted that frozen and fresh eggs have the same nutritional content. But he also expressed concerns on how they are processed.

“Ang danger kasi doon, like yung ngayon mga binebenta sa public market ‘di ba, sa mga public wet market--ano yung proseso nila ng pagka-crack ng eggs? Kasi as we know naman po, ang eggs talaga is medyo delikado siya in the sense na may possible na salmonella siya,” he noted.

(The danger is, for frozen eggs sold in the public market--how are they cracked? We know eggs could have salmonella.)

“Ang salmonella ay isang mickrobyo na pwedeng magdulot ng infection sa katawan natin. Pwedeng maging seryoso, pwedeng magagamot din kung maagapan,” Solante said.

(Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause infections. It can cause serious diseases, but may also be treated.)

The doctor said salmonellosis—or the infection due to salmonella—may cause vomiting, stomach aches, fever, diarrhea, and even bloody stool.

Solante said the public should skip frozen eggs whenever possible.

“Dapat wag siguro muna bibili ng mga ganitong klaseng itlog na nakabiyak na, na nandoon na lang sa cellophane,” he said.

“But in case na talagang hindi maiwasan, pag niluluto nila yan, dapat fully cooked yan para hindi masyadong delikado tayo sa mga mikrobyo.”

(Maybe we shouldn't buy these cracked eggs in cellophane bags. But if you can't avoid it, make sure you properly cook your eggs.)

For his part, Buhain said he understood why some Filipinos were looking into cheaper alternatives for eggs.

“Pero iwe-weigh kasi natin ito ‘no: andoon tayo sa makakamura pa tayo, pero we’re putting, siguro yung kakain noon, our family, our customers in danger. Kasi mas mahal pag magkaroon po tayo ng salmonellosis,” he stressed.

(But we have to weigh things. You got eggs for less, but you are putting your family and your customers at risk. It's more expensive to get treated for salmonellosis.)